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The reflection about gender of Off-White™'s SS21 collection

“Adam is Eve”

The reflection about gender of Off-White™'s SS21 collection “Adam is Eve”

There's a joke that, in American movies, is often humorously put in the mouths of more conservative characters when they talk about gender: «It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve». A joke so used and abused that it became almost a parody of herself. But for his latest collection of Off-White™, Virgil Abloh created a short circuit of this concept, proposing: "Adam is Eve" – that is, a fusion of male and female languages and prerogatives, in an attempt, if not to unite, at least to bring the two codes closer together, finding innovative solutions to the great classics of the men's wardrobe. A co-ed fashion show, therefore, that would seem to aspire to be genderless by marking a decisive new balance in the aesthetics of the brand – which, today, could not seem further from the maximalist graphics and shouted branding of the first collections.

A new elegance that continues to cultivate the small design signatures that Abloh has made us accustomed to for some seasons now (circular holes in blazers, sartorial splits with leather elements, laces and ribbons that become a decorative element) but turns towards an unusually minimalist dimension, with a very strong emphasis placed on the power suit with square shoulders , a flirtation with asymmetrical silhouettes and the abandonment of the cult of sneakers, represented in a single look throughout the fashion show. The two big changes take place in terms of the silhouette: the women's suit becomes a power suit and the blouse futuristically extends on the face becoming a mask (one of the happiest and simplest insights of post-covid fashion) while the men's suit, while maintaining its gray scales, becomes a kind of tunic – not too frivolous nor too avant-garde, just serious. Abloh's is a modern suiting, clean and in its own way almost strict, although its men, despite their freedom of expression, seem to take themselves too seriously.

Finally, the limits of the collection. To be a co-ed show, in which the women's and men's collections are shown together, there is a certain imbalance: if the female side touches all the right spots, also presenting the organic evolutions of the designs of the previous collections, and managing to produce a cutting edge, ultramodern chic effect; the men's side remains almost in the shade, with excellent looks in themselves that carry out an interesting sartorial project, but which lacks a little vitality. The idea of the genderless suit is well executed, although it is not clear why the men's wardrobe should accommodate the introduction of tunics, skirts and pseudo-tank-tops for women while the female one can remain completely unchanged, being indeed, almost hyper-feminine with its succession of wide pleated dresses, skirts with a dizzying slit and power suit that, while remaining serious and almost professional despite the opulence of fit and materials , enhance the silhouette of the models. In any case, Off-White™ mature and sartorial turn could not be more welcome this year – marking a further detachment from a now hyper-saturated and tired streetwear and redefining the idea of an elegant uniform for everyday life.